One morning during a difficult time of our parents' separation, at the age of nine and 10, my sister and I decided it would be a good idea to go to church. We had never set foot in a church but had a desire to be in a "safe" environment. Dad nearly fell over backward when we asked him if he would let us go to church! But he agreed, and it was the one place where we felt safe and close to God, even though we only went a few times.
I grew up and experienced many things in the world such as partying, drugs and alcohol. While at university furthering my studies in nursing, I suffered a nervous breakdown at 21 years of age and contemplated suicide. I got to a point where I cried out to God in fear of where my life may be heading. The only thing that kept my head above water at that time was my nursing, as it filled my time. I loved to help people and make a difference in a person's life. Seeing a patient learn to walk or talk again was such a great joy to me.
Many times in my nursing, I came across patients who were pastors, priests or nuns. I always had many questions. I'd get back on track and would not give God a thought until the next moment of need. I loved my job and was enjoying my studies but still had a void in my life.
While at university, I met a wonderful man whom I knew I was going to spend the rest of my life with! Little did I know that he was brought up in a Christian home and had the answer to all my questions about God. I gave my heart to God completely about a year after being married and having our first child.
During this time, I was questioning the Sabbath. I often worked on Sabbath, had so many assignments and needed to study every day. I was also finding study increasingly difficult, as my daughter and everything else in my life was requiring my attention. There was no time for anything else and God was getting the leftover--if any.
One Friday night after sunset, I sat down to complete an assignment but I knew in my heart I should not be doing it. God was calling me to rest and I was struggling.
Five hours later I looked over my work, proud to have finished-- but realised I had done the wrong questions and it was all incorrect. I had just wasted five hours of my precious time!
I was so angry but an impression came into my mind: I had to make some changes. Where were my priorities? Did I want a career in nursing or did I want a relationship with God? I knew God was giving me a choice. At that moment, my nursing was my god, not my Father in heaven. I struggled with this over that Sabbath and the following week. But I knew--deep down--what I had to do.
I could look back and see God all through my past, even in my darkest moments. I didn't know it but His hand had directed my path. I could choose my career or I could choose God but I knew I did not have the time to commit to both. I chose God.
It came with hurdles though. My lecturers contacted me for the following six months, encouraging me to just have a break and come back when I was ready. They offered me all sorts of schedules, so I would have more time for the other areas of my life. But God was calling me to be a steward of time, particularly of time to have a relationship with Him.
Five years later, I praise God for calling me to make a decision. I have had the joy of watching friends and my sister give their hearts to God by being a steward of my time and, as a result, witnessing to them and investing it in eternal things. I have been led by God to have a ministry giving books away to those searching for spiritual things.
But the biggest blessing in the stewardship of time is raising our children to desire heavenly things and preparing ourselves as a family for eternal life. I shudder to think where my life would be without God. When we make time for God, time is more beautiful for every other area of our lives. For God says, "At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you." Indeed, God is ready to help you right now. Today is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2. Tania Maunder is a full-time mother, who lives in the Yarra Valley, Victoria.
This story is used with permission from Signs Publishing Company. More of these stories can be found in these collections: Ordinary People—Extraordinary God, Ordinary People—Faithful God, and Ordinary People—Generous God